Announced today, Northrop Grumman Corporation has selected Garmin to supply the avionics suite for the new Firebird, an optionally-piloted vehicle (OPV) designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
The Firebird, which made its first flight this month, is equipped with a tailored version of Garmin’s touchscreen-controlled integrated flight deck. This system leverages the expandable and scalable attributes of Garmin’s commercial avionics technology to yield a highly-capable Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) solution.
The cockpit is equipped with three 14-inch, high-definition, widescreen displays. It also has two touchscreen display/controllers that provide a centralized and intuitive interface to the system, giving pilots rapid access to the flight information they want. The touch controllers also allow for the control of external missions systems.
The displays, touchscreen controllers and flight management systems are also used in the ground control station that is used to fly the aircraft when it is operated as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
As a hybrid between a conventional aircraft and a UAV, the Firebird offers the flexibility to perform missions based on the demands of the environment and whether manned or unmanned flight is preferred. The Firebird can support multiple types of ISR and communications sensor payloads simultaneously during flight including high definition full-motion video, infrared, radar and different types of electronic communications.